Business

The New York Times Joins Effort to Combat Trump’s Anti-Press Rhetoric

Posted August 14, 2018 6:33 p.m. EDT

The call to arms came in the form of a memo.

Marjorie Pritchard, the deputy managing editor of The Boston Globe, reached out to editorial boards at other newspapers last week.

“We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” the memo said.

As of Tuesday, more than 200 newspapers, including The New York Times, had signed on.

The Globe’s effort to rally editorial writers across the country came in reaction to President Donald Trump’s stepped-up attacks on the media.

At a recent rally in Pennsylvania, Trump pointed to the group of journalists covering the event, saying they “only make up stories” and called them “fake, fake disgusting news.” On Twitter, he has revived an old phrase — “the enemy of the people” — to describe “much of the media” and “the Fake News Media.”

Last month, at a news conference in Britain, he refused to call on CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, saying, “CNN is fake news. I don’t take questions from CNN.” A week later, the White House barred another CNN reporter, Kaitlan Collins, from attending a public appearance by Trump in the White House Rose Garden after she had called out questions during a photo opportunity earlier in the day.

“We’re not the enemy of the people,” Pritchard, who oversees The Globe’s opinion section, said in an interview. “We thought that a coordinated effort across the country would make a powerful statement about the importance of a free press.”

The newspapers participating in the effort include large-circulation dailies like the Houston Chronicle and the Miami Herald, as well as smaller publications like The Oakridger in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the Griggs County Courier and Steele County Press in North Dakota.

Each newspaper will prepare its own editorial to be published Thursday.

The Radio Television Digital News Association has joined The Globe in promoting the effort, encouraging TV and radio stations to release editorials on their websites or on the air.

“I hope that what we’re doing with broadcast and digital journalists will be able to amplify their efforts and to call attention to the fact that we’re not fake news, we’re not enemy of the people and here are the things we do every day by covering the news,” said Dan Shelley, the association’s executive director.

Pritchard said she hoped the editorials will bring attention to how the president’s rhetoric has affected the body politic.

“We’re being portrayed as a domestic enemy rather than a loyal fellow countryman whose profession is to hold the powerful accountable,” she said. “This whole project is not anti-Trump. It’s really pro-press.”